Clouds and Trees

"Nothing ever goes away enough or arrives enough,/ and I want to cry when I think of my heart,/ muscle pounding in muscle, greedy always for joy." – 'A Warning', Eric Anderson

Category: psychedelic


A bump has risen on my finger.
It is much like a pain-button
in that I can press it on anything
and then I experience pain.
It’s becoming pink and tough,
I’m afraid my pain will be permanent
with a button to touch
which heralds it in. Pain!
I wasn’t sure you would come!
I don’t know where the door is–
so it must be left open
in case anyone comes to visit.
There are many doors,
all just the right shape,
for things you see, all the tastes,
smells you expect and smells you don’t,
degrees and types of hot and cold,
and all the sizes of pain —
but this one sensation has risen
like a bubble to the surface
of boiling water, and formed a button.
I worry that soon
everything will boil out of me
and I will be covered in little buttons,
so that when I touch —
or accidentally bump into things,
I will experience
now headache,
now heartache,
now soreness,
now the color white,
now the shapes of a horse,
now the sense of space,
now the smell of air,
now wetness, now warmth.
One button is touched — I feel Being Born;
Another — Death.


No Autumn

Sometimes I think,
“These trees must be made of birds,”
phoenix-burns in crisp, bird-shapes,
crushed into ashes under boot-feet.

Come spring, I hope to God
I hear birds chirping, birds
bursting from the trees,
like shades of green.

Tornado, Out of Spiral


Rain drifts some other place,
storms end, grass dries off.
First cloud, last cloud, gone.
Smudge on starry night,
faint pinpoints unmoved.


There was no horizon to see,
eight months spent, overcast.
Somehow I broke up clouds,
tore them off of sunlight,
spots I saw blank back at me.


Once the wind cleared the mud
from a puddle I was standing over
Ripples became nothing but white.
A fire, I thought, fire on the ridge–
No, a circle in the sky, burning yellow.


Orange With A Wick

I walk past people not talking
with mouths zipped around faces.
Clothing not questionable–
these are wagon spokes they’re wearing
to walk, blue collar, bruised
skin turning inky, future noose
loosening, the benefits of growing up–
growing down to earth.
Not sure I can weather the tree fall
timber storm and steel swimming
up into cloud cover.
Too many miles to climb–
the world is only as high
as the bottoms of my feet.
When the whistle calls,
like train punching through clocks
melting off of walls,
will I be untied from the track
my back relies on?
If I plant the seed quick enough,
maybe an oak tree 500 years tall
will explode from railroad
and smash cowplow teeth right out
of locomotive mouth.


The pill is a better blue and white
than waves and seafoam
the same pounding
the same sweeping
no one’s footprints
lifted from feet
Were those mine?
Or have I become water, breathing?

The sea from above
the caps of waves
like capsules
like toenail clippings
scattered below me
or aligned
on my crosshatch carpet

Now from below
I am choking–
the pill, like the drink it’s swallowed with
can taste not unlike breathing
But drowning perpetually
held down by the hand of a friend
who’s already developed her medicinal gills
can’t replace lungs


My eyes are trained
to see the air
from inside

I cannot see everything
but enough
to know what’s real
and what isn’t


In water thick with grass
Sargasso Sea you pull me through
the clouds beneath your depths

I grew up in trees
and eventually discovered
that if I stood beside myself
I might break into blossom

I sketched plans inside my head
about the slipping of the wind
and the feeling of new earth
I imagined the scent of death
and becoming another seed

As the air wrapped around me
I heard a buzzing
the sound of something wilting

Underneath the earth I’ve seen the veins of life
coarsing with heat in the wintertime
eternally birthing green in the spring

One Hundred Years Of This

I imagine myself
wishing for warmth
believing in the meaning behind subtlety
A headache comes in my next incarnation —


I move through phases of my relationship with loneliness
which wax and wane like illuminations of the moon
You say Yes, I can commiserate with you
because we are both afraid
of knowing each other

In control I hold myself
by the threads of my friends
and as the whole of time escapes
so am I
afraid of my own evaporation

I imagine myself
rising through the atmosphere
the subtle meaning behind my life
condensing around me

In most moments
I feel as if I am held in place between
falling with the pull of gravity
and dissipating into droplets

I imagine myself
coalesced into a solid stone
unspinning into nothingness
far below the limits of light and darkness

I follow you through
the catacombs beneath my home
Here is where I learned
that death is only this —

the lens through which we interpret
the effervescing of the self
in and out of existence.


I wander between these shear-thin walls
I make endless left turns
I know that escape is a matter of time
not distance

I crawl making fist-prints in the skin
that plotted against my own revisions
since the day it wrapped around me
and the places where my emotions hid

I fail to see something brighter
in the overwhelming light
but I look anyway
and believe there is something
biding time behind the blindness

I fall down the stairway
built with my own hands
as if I was never meant
to lay the boards beneath my feet

I hold up a bundle of sticks
hatchet in hand
and cut open a new tree
I gesture slightly to where
you stand beneath me
carrying a netted bag of oranges

We fall upside-down if we pause momentarily
You are never around
when the sky escapes
these are not my clouds
to watch wisping through the trees


If we watched
the dots behind our eyes
maybe we’d turn out fine

In my alleyway I lay back and listen
to you sing about finding time
I’ve written around a thousand lines
just to find a place for mine

Every moment of wondering
has been just another step sideways
into finally making a picture
out of the puzzle piece
that’s been cut from my life

When we walk together
we talk about the things we used to remember
I worry about whispering
and not knowing who I really know
and when we get up
I can’t remember how to stand straight
or how to turn to you and say
that your face has always reminded me
of how I used to be


The choir sang a song
which made their voices sound a little softer
and the people in the pews were unsure
just what they were listening to

The words washed through the glass
and were stained with holy colors on the way out
The grass was quietly covered
with the whispering
made saintly in its escaping

A boy sat in the bell-tower
where he spat seeds at the sidewalk
six stories below
and watched the sunflowers grow
And with the bell ringing forever behind him
he stepped into the petals
and let the music carry him
to a place
that always faced the sun